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I’m headed off on a 3 week bike trip and just now noticed a small hole in the middle of running tread of my front tire. I have a few more days before heading off into a more remote area and wanted to know if this is something I should take care of beforehand. The tires are WTB horizon 47c’s and I’m running them with tubes. Attached is a picture of the crack

Thanks!enter image description here

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One of the go-to sites has this to say: "Cracks in the tread are harmless. Small punctures in the tire such as are typically caused by nails, tacks, thorns or glass slivers are also harmless to the tire, since the tire doesn't need to be air-tight."

I commute daily, and by the time my tires are about half way through their lifespan there are dozens of minor gashes like that in the tire. You just want to check that there's nothing lodged in there that will work inward and puncture your tube.

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This type of cut is quite expected on tyres and usually nothing to worry about. Its caused when something (a small stone, shard of glass etc) cuts the rubber, but is stopped short of causing a puncture.

Carefully ease the cut apart with your fingers and see if you can see the inner tube. If you can see the tube, the tyre needs repairing from the inside.

If you can't see the tube, the casing is intact and you can continue to use the tyre, although some people like to use superglue to close these cuts to avoid more debris finding its way in

  • I like the idea of using superglue. – Harshil Sharma Jul 9 at 8:37
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    @HarshilSharma superglue isn't flexible enough, and won't bond with the rubber anyway. It'll be gone in 100 metres. – Criggie Jul 9 at 9:15
  • Yeah, personally I don't use the superglue solution, but some people swear by it. – Andy P Jul 9 at 9:19
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Can you see your innertube from any angle, through the hole ? If so, expect it to puncture every couple hundred kilometres. Source, personal experience.

One fix is to slap a tube patch on the inside of the tyre, to act as a boot and prevent the tube from herniating out through the hole.

Since you're going on a long remote trip, it would be wise to pack a spare tyre for each different wheel size in the group. Spare tubes are a given, but it really depends how far from support you're going to go as to how much spare stuff you want to carry.

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    Good point about spare tyres. Especially for the WTB Horizon which is a 650b and won't be as easy to source in remote locations as more conventional sizes – Andy P Jul 9 at 9:23
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    It's hard to tell if you can see a black innertube through a hole in a black tyre. Easier to check if you can see a piece of paper through the hole. – David Richerby Jul 9 at 13:44
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There is nothing to worry about this, that probably was a puncture in the past or a near-puncture. I have used a bike having tires with damage larger than this.

If you remove the tire and look at it from the inside, if the inner structure of the tire doesn't have a large hole, you are fine. If it does, install adhesive high pressure cloth rim tape on the inside of the tire to prevent the inner tube from being visible, and closely monitor the area for any bulges.

The times to replace a tire are when the sidewall is damaged, or you see a bulge in the tire, or the tread is so worn that the cords start to be barely visible (except on a mountain bike you probably want to replace earlier than when the cords become visible, because a MTB requires the traction on mud that tread pattern gives you). Until that, to save your money, it's repairs and not replacement.

By the way, have few spare inner tubes, a spare foldable tire, patch kit an tools to remove and install a tire with you at all times during the bike trip.

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